JCB has installed its hydrogen combustion engine into a 7.5 tonne Mercedes truck. Coming as a moment which JCB says proves the wider appeal of hydrogen combustion technology, the internal combustion engine (ICE) used in the truck is the same as those already powering JCB prototype construction and agricultural machines.

Lord Anthony Bamford says

In 2021, the company revealed it intended to invest £100m ($120m) on a project aimed at developing hydrogen engines. Having spearheaded the projectLord Anthony Bamford, Chairman of JCB, commented, “This is a giant leap forward for JCB and the rest of world because we all have one goal: to reduce emissions.” Bamford continued, “The hydrogen engine we have installed in the truck is the same as those already powering prototype JCB machines, so there is no reason we should not see hydrogen combustion engines in vehicles used on the roads in the future, including cars.”

UK Government dispensation

Just last week (February 9), the UK Government gave JCB special dispensation to allow it to test its hydrogen ICE digger on UK roads. Under a vehicle special order, given by the Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, the backhoe loader, powered by a hydrogen ICE will soon be on UK roads and building sites as the UK looks to decarbonise its hard-to-abate sectors. Said to be the “world’s first” hydrogen digger, the JCB manufactured vehicle received its unveiling during the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in June (2022). In January (2023), JCB announced it was set to unveil the hydrogen ICE that has already powered the prototype backhoe loader, as well as its loadall telescopic handler. 

Jesse Norman, Technology and Decarbonisation Minister, commented, “JCB’s investment in greener equipment is a great example of how industry can make this happen, using alternative fuels to generate sustainable economic growth.”

Jcb Mercedes
A very few group of journalists, including us at POWERTRAIN International, saw the H2 JCB engine in the powertrain of the Mercedes truck, at the Wardlow quarry

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